Albany- Leesa Haire has owned Nature's Cure for four years. When she opened the business, she knew offering health insurance and worker's compensation to her employees would be too expensive. By law, as a small business, she doesn't have to.
Haire says, "Health can be catastrophic to you personally and even to the business. If someone is hurt, and they don't have insurance, you're more vulnerable."
Nature's Cure employee, Tisha Callaway, says she knew her employer couldn't afford insurance, so she is glad she was on her parents' plan, after a recent car wreck. Callaway says, "You have to get it. Everybody needs health insurance, whether it's half or full coverage. It's necessary."
Insurance agent, Rick Dougherty, says there is hope for small business owners because insurance companies realize how important they are. They've focused over the years on middle and large accounts and that's come back to hurt them.
Teresa Rayburn, with the Small Business Development Center, says many small businesses choose to lease their employees through larger companies so they can be insured.
Rayburn says, "They will come in and sign your employees up as their employee, and then, you lease them, and they get all the benefits." Rayburn also says until small businesses can afford to offer insurance plans, it is wise for their employees to take out insurance plans on their own.
Small businesses also can contact the local Chamber of Commerce for a group health insurance plan for their employees that is more economical.